On December 16, I announced my plan to listen and briefly record my responses to the music of the composers who follow me on Twitter. This post is the twenty-fifth and final installment of what I call, “Mapping My Musical Twitterverse”, and features composers Annika Socolofsky, Dylan Arthur Baker, Lawton Hall, Andrew Rodriguez and Matthew Kiichi Heafy.
Annika Socolofsky is a composer based in Ann Arbor, MI. Annika and I were colleagues at the University of Michigan from 2012-14. From Annika’s website, I listened to Rachenitsa falsa, for orchestra, Carpathian Concerto, for Serbian brass band, and Quatour a cordes en re, “Freyglish”, for string ensemble.
These works demonstrate Annika’s interest in exploring elements of eastern European folk music in different compositional settings. Commonly, one can hear this pursuit shape a work’s pitch or rhythmic material. In any case, Annika’s strong technical gifts always emerge, frequently in the form of stellar orchestration and gripping melodies.
Dylan Arthur Baker:
Dylan Arthur Baker is a composer based in Kansas City, MO. Dylan and I were colleagues at the University of Michigan from 2012-2014. From Dylan’s SoundCloud page, I listened to Dew, for flute and soprano saxophone, an unfinished work for orchestra and soprano, and Rhapsodic Resonance, for saxophone quartet.
These works evince Dylan’s sensitivity to instrumental color. Dew is the clearest example of this quality, as timbre is one of the work’s most vibrant characteristics. Dylan’s new orchestral work also impresses with color insofar as the soprano floats clearly atop a variety of dramatic and astutely designed symphonic textures.
Lawton Hall is a composer and multimedia visual artist based in Milwaukee, WI. From Lawton’s website, I listened to Ex.Glock., for glockenspiel, Binary Etude, for solo trombone, and Drift (a field), for fixed media and improvised visual projection.
These works possess a lot of differences, but share an alluring spatial quality. Ex.Glock., a set of experiments for bells, feels like a drifting etude in musical space, while Binary Etude is more focused, and features an ever-growing melodic line. Drift (a field) is a more varied work, and offers a new approach to space with its visual component.
Andrew Rodriguez is a composer based in Abilene, TX. From Andrew’s SoundCloud page, I listened to Every Path But Your Own, produced with software instruments, Elegy for Strings, for string orchestra, and Agnus Dei, for SATB choir and piano.
This slice of Andrew’s music features clear, compelling harmonies and strong, evocative melodic material. These works also feature interesting, but not glib, structures, particularly the Elegy, which is the longest piece in my selection. The form of Agnus Dei is particularly satisfying and clever, a response made possible by Andrew’s competent text-setting, skillful use of the chorus and endearing melodies.
Matthew Kiichi Heafy:
Matthew Kiichi Heafy is the lead vocalist and guitarist for the American heavy metal band Trivium. From Matthew’s website, I watched a web advertise he scored, and also listened to the songs “Like Calisto To A Star In Heaven” from Trivium’s album Shogun, and “Detonation” from Ignition.
Matthew is an incredibly skilled guitarist, versatile singer and talented songwriter whose range and ability, I feel, is well-represented in these works. The two Trivium songs I chose demonstrate the group’s gift for strong melodic ideas. Moreover, these tracks showcase Trivium’s nuanced style, penchant for counterpoint, and thoughtful approach to metal’s structural conventions.